Arts & Culture

UK Professor's Emoji-inspired Design and Typography Work Makes STA 100

illustration of the Shrug Sign references which looks like a w that is shrugging
illustration of Awkward Pause by Mia Cinelli which resembles a long comma
illlustration of Mia Cinelli's Frustration Point which looks like a lightning bolt merged with an exclamation point

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 11, 2019) — University of Kentucky Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Design Mia Cinelli's work has been honored as one of the STA 100, the finest examples of communication design and typography created around the world recognized by The Society of Typographic Arts (STA).

The STA brings the design community together by inviting and encouraging all creative professionals to help build a community through social, educational and networking opportunities. The society is dedicated to pursuing excellence in all forms of communication through events, activities, conferences and publications, as well as the STA 100 competition, now in its 40th year.

The competition jury of Ellen Lupton, Matthew Hoffman, Meriah Garrett and Aarron Walter selected 2019's best examples of typographic excellence.

Cinelli’s STA 100 award-winning designs, Speculative Characters for Visual Inflection, illustrated new punctuation to formally articulate meaning through gesture and expression. Drawing from the age of emojis — which use images to bolster our typographic voices — Cinelli designed new letterforms inspired by facial expressions, hand gestures and metaphors to better inform visual inflection. These new characters are proposed to supplement our existing typefaces, attempting to make the rich complexities of verbal (and nonverbal) conversation visible. 

Cinelli joined the faculty at UK School of Art and Visual Studies in fall of 2017. Previously she served as an assistant professor and gallery director at Defiance College for three years. Cinelli earned her bachelor’s degree in graphic communication from Northern Michigan University's School of Art and Design and a master’s degree in art + design from Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design at University of Michigan.

This is the second time work by Cinelli has been recognized by STA, but the first time listed under her own name. Previously, Cinelli was also awarded a Graphis Silver Award for Typeface Design for her typeface Fayette.

The UK School of Art and Visual Studies at the College of Fine Arts offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studioart history and visual studiesart education, and digital media design.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.